The mobile phone industry will sell 150 million smartphones in 2008, 15 times this year's sales, with the Symbian OS leading the smartphone operating system market, according to a report published this week by ABI Research. The report projects strong growth for high-end mobile phones, with Microsoft's market share trailing behind Symbian, and Linux bringing up the rear.
The safety of cellphones has been called into question, again. This time the scientific community is paying very close attention. A Swedish study links mobile phones to brain damage, in rats, anyway. The findings have re-ignited a longstanding debate among scientists and cellphone manufacturers over cellphone safety.
KDDI has taken more than 50 percent of new subscribers for the third month in a row, and there is good news at last for Vodafone, for the first time since June the struggling carrier actually broke the 100,000 barrier. DoCoMo however ended the year down in Japanese carriers unrelenting battle to get more cellies in pockets and handbags. The latest figures out show that KDDI took a huge 289,500 subscribers, more than double that of DoCoMo's 114,600.
DoCoMo announced yesterday it was launching an i-mode Disaster Message Board service starting January 17 that will allow subscribers to post personal messages at a special i-mode site, an admission that DoCoMo's overloaded PDC network will just not be able to cope with the flood of calls that will emerge when the Big One hits. "Should a major disaster occur," says DoCoMo, "the network will undoubtedly be extremely busy as - in addition to the heavy traffic among administrative and relief agencies - ordinary users in the affected locale attempt outside contact to worried relatives and friends."
The mobile Internet may have gained popularity in Japan because of cool ring tones and text messaging, but now businesses are finding that using cell phones to track information increases productivity -- and saves money. Just as entertainment has been an unexpected driver of growth and innovation in the overall mobile Internet, unexpected applications such as delivery, construction, maintenance and sales are driving business use in the mobile Internet. By Prof. Jeffrey L. Funk, this paper is a condensed version of a chapter from his soon-to-be-released book "Mobile Disruption."
Service-centric platforms are pushing towards Linux and Symbian OS, a move toward flexibility and customization being pushed by DoCoMo, Vodafone and Orange will play an important role in pushing smart phone sales to 150 million units, according to research firm ABI. "With increasing competition and high churn rates," explains ABI analyst Kenil Vora, "operators have felt the need to differentiate their products."
How Japan is different: Pre-paid in the U.S. is for those with dodgy credit ratings, but in Japan, Vodafone's latest nibble at the edges of the Japanese market now includes an 24-hour online prepaid service called Prepaid Online Recharge that includes an SMS service that automatically informs customers when their account is close to expiration or when their balance is low.
KDDI and its research arm KDDI Labs have developed a Distributed Speech Recognition (DSR) based application aimed at enterprises and sales forces, for example, that will allow users to download data from corporate databases by just talking to their PDAs. The voice recognition system employs a two-step voice recognition approach, first with the terminal and then on the center server, enabling users to access map data, photos and voice instructions.
Fujitsu Ltd. is reported to be re-entering the European market with both 2- and 3G phones in 2005, according to a report in Japan's Nikkei. Fujitsu's last foreign foray overseas, in the United States, ended in 1997. The Nikkei reports that Fujitsu plans to develop dual-standard phones with France's Sagem SA, with which Fujitsu signed a technology partnership agreement back in 2002. The new phones are reported to support both GRPS and W-CDMA.
Dai Nippon Printing has begun providing a service to enable cellphone users to access content related to broadcast and communications satellite TV and terrestrial digital TV programs aired by transmitting 2D codes from their handsets. The service uses a bandwidth allocated to data broadcast in digital TV broadcast, and allows cellphone users to access program-related content from handsets while watching a program.
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